Phoenix LXXIII: "This Space Available"
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03-19-2013, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
As strange (or not) as it may seem, the most likely option is to stay in Phoenix IMO. Before the recession and the ownership scuttle... Phoenix was actually a respectable expansion franchise. Also the NHL REALLY wants to stay in Phoenix, and the only market ready to receive RIGHT NOW is Quebec... (not KC, the market is too saturated and small). The easiest way to sell the franchise is to drop the price... next year with a 10M loss incurred for this season, the price would be $180M, which would be too much. However the ownership instability is definitely affecting revenue by my estimates minimum 10%. In my opinion, if suddenly I were to wave my magic wand, and there is an owner next season, the Coyotes would only have to make the playoffs to achieve a profit. I understand the hesitation in this market, but the recession and ownership problems really hit the market hard, and before, had respectable numbers, even with a terrible team.
The Phoenix sports market is definitely over-saturated, but it's a key market... probably a similar situation in Seattle once both an NBA team and an NHL team move in. I'm all for Seattle and QC, but I don't think the Phoenix Coyotes are moving (as embarrassing as this situation has been). The only reason the NHL moved Atlanta is because they literally had NO OTHER OPTIONS. ASG kicked the Thrashers out on the street, and made the lease agreement for the arena impossible to negotiate. I think Bettman see's Phoenix's efforts to keep the team, and he'd literally do everything in his power to keep the team there. Even if the team only loses 10M a year as opposed to 20M+ I see the team staying. There definitely would be a spike in revenues if stable ownership is announced, just as there was a dip when there was no owner. Miami and Phoenix are very comparable in terms of the recession impact, team "suckage", and TV contract importance.
2 counter points of the Miami example to note
1. Extremely favorable arena terms for Florida
2. Phoenix had gotten a little better while the Panthers still suck
In my opinion the NHL will stay at all costs for the next couple of years. Why move a team when you're going to do everything you can to get back into the market 15 years later. I think to the NHL, moving the team would be another Jets/Nordiques type of mistake. Just like Atlanta was a Hartford mistake.
Also the NHL now is the healthiest it's ever been since modern expansion. There is no need to talk contraction. Look at attendance numbers. Look at profits and revenues. Look at looked up leases and team stability. Phoenix is the only question mark. Expansion is coming. And yes, even Seattle could very well become another Phoenix if it were impacted by the same forces (although it would fare slightly better because of it's latitude, it's closeness to the Canadian border, and it's relatively stable economy). The NHL likes to think long term, and long term, Phoenix should have a team. Why take a team out, only to have a desire to give Phoenix another team 15 years down the road?
As embarrassing as the situation is, I expect the Coyotes to stay after this season, even if no ownership is found. The League will probably hold onto them until realignment and expansion talks start and when the Quebec and Seattle arenas are complete. That would be the perfect time to dish off the Coyotes off if necessary. What's another 2 or 3 years to the NHL?
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